Wednesday, January 14, 2009


“There is in books
one voice and one letter that is read,
but it informs not all alike.
For I am within,
secretly hidden in the letter,
the teacher of truth,
the searcher of the human heart.”

~ Thomas à Kempis, Imitatione Christi, ch.43

How amazing to consider the ways jottings and their configuration can call forth a full spectrum of lived experience! The names and symbols above recount an evening I spent at Fenway Park, last June.


Steveareno said...

I LOVE that shot of your baseball scorecard! Is that a Rite in the Rain notebook? Which one? I'm dying to know because I, too, keep score when I go to Braves games and it would be great to be able to continue scoring during a summer shower. I've been using a Moleskine squared notebook, but it's no good in the rain.

Mary Ellen said...

Hey - thanks for all your help today. I love your blog, and will be back to visit soon!

BlueBirdie said...

Great post; I like how you describe your journal as a little portable hide away from the world so to speak, it indeed becomes like that (sketchbook too!)for me also.

cold snowy days like today are perfect for retreat into journaling.Seeing your recent blog posts inspire me to write, and the imagery of the writings as leaves on tress is a great visualization. The handwritings of your grandma too, her writing looks joyful and musical. :)my grandma wrote very lovely and I treasure her writings too.

Elizabeth H. said...

I really enjoyed this post--thank you! As someone who is enamored of calligraphy (though my few attempts have been pretty sad) and typefaces of all sorts, it spoke to me. I liked the image of your grandmother's handwriting. There's something so wonderfully intimate and unique about handwriting, and I'm very sad that we're losing that in our society, to a great extent. I can look at a handwritten letter and know at a glance who wrote it; I'm instantly connected with that person's mind and heart in what feels to me like a much more direct way than digital text. I love that.

I think you've also convinced me I need to go buy a copy of The Imitation of Christ. Somehow I've never managed to pick it up. Do you ever feel stalked by a particular book? Lately I keep coming across quotes from the Imitation that speak to me, plus several family members have brought it up. I think someone is dropping hints. ;)

speculator said...

thanks, Steveareno. The best baseball scorebook is the old-fashioned hardbacked composition notebook. It's the perfect size. I've been using those- rain and shine- since I was 9.

As you can see from this blog, I'm a big Rite-in-the-Rain fan, but for journaling. And to go with these, the ideal pencil is the General's Layout.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog Abraham. Be careful, you could start a new religion - old is better!

D. Loon said...

I'm reminded of a quote by a musician I admire:
"Music is the cup that holds the wine of silence."

I also can't help but recall an _X-Files_ episode where Mulder tells Scully about how he can reconstruct baseball games in exact detail from the score tables in an old newspaper.

Anonymous said...

just found you blog. I love it!! :)
I also have 2 Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriters, which i use on a daily basis. Also use fountain pens. do you use fountain pens?

speculator said...

thank you, Daniel !

Yes, indeed! As fountain pens go- I favor Waterman, especially their Hemisphere and Phileas models (which are both easy to grasp). Their ink chambers hold quite a lot, and that's great for traveling! Waterman also produces first-rate inks of all sorts of colors.

May favorite ballpoint of all is the Ballograf, from Sweden.

Anne said...

Truthfully, I would like to go line through line with this one and comment on nearly everything you have written! I will try to restrain myself...

Love the Kempis quote "secretly hidden in the letter" it takes me breath away!

The story within this story of your Grandmother's letter is lovely. I know I have commented before about my terrible handwriting. It makes me sad to think that nobody would ever look back and make that kind of comment about my penmanship, but I suppose I have other qualities for which I will be fondly remembered. What is most obvious to me here is your great love for your Grandmother that you are able to treasure each time you revisit her letter.

I especially love the Yiddish story! I have never heard that before. It reminds me of the quote from St. Paul about how we do not know how to pray as we ought, and it is then that the spirit groans within us. In this case, the alphabet would be a wonderful spiritual groan. I'm going to try that the next time I find myself unable to pray.

With much gratitude-

Stefano said...

Please tell me where I can find ink (black and red) for this very nice typewriter...
I just bought the Lettera 32 last Sunday in a kind of Portobello's Market in Campagnano (Roma)
Stefano (Roma)

speculator said...

Congratulations, Stefano!

Fortunately, you live in a large city. Perhaps there is a shop that does typewriter repairs? They would have the Olivetti ink ribbons you need. Or try via the internet. I know you buy ribbons on eBay. But my first suggestion is to try finding a typewriter repair shop; they could also service your Lettera 32.
All the best to you!